Friday, December 9, 2011

Homicide; proper computation of penalty - G.R. No. 180219

G.R. No. 180219

"x x x.

The penalty for homicide under Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code is reclusion temporal. Under Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law,[15] the court, in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised Penal Code, or its amendments, is mandated to prescribe an indeterminate sentence the maximum term of which shall be that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the rules of the Revised Penal Code, and the minimum term shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Revised Penal Code for the offense. With the absence of aggravating or mitigating circumstances, the imposable penalty is reclusion temporal in its medium period, or 14 years, eight months, and one day to 17 years and four months. This is pursuant to Article 64 of the Revised Penal Code.[16] It is such period that the maximum term of the indeterminate sentence should be reckoned from. Hence, limiting the maximum term of the indeterminate sentence at only 14 years and eight months contravened the express provision of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, for such penalty was within the minimum period of reclusion temporal. Accordingly, the Court must add one day to the maximum term fixed by the lower courts.

The Court finds to be unnecessary the increment of one day as part of the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence. It may be true that the increment did not constitute an error, because the minimum term thus fixed was entirely within the parameters of theIndeterminate Sentence Law. Yet, the addition of one day to the 10 years as the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence of Talampas may occasion a degree of inconvenience when it will be time for the penal administrators concerned to consider and determine whether Talampas is already qualified to enjoy the benefits of the Indeterminate Sentence Law. Hence, in order to simplify the computation of the minimum penalty of the indeterminate sentence, the Court deletes the one-day increment from the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence.

WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on August 16, 2007 finding VIRGILIO TALAMPAS y MATIC guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide, and IMPOSES the indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision mayor, as minimum, to 14 years, eight months, and one day of reclusion temporal, as maximum.

The petitioner shall pay the costs of suit.


x x x."